Thornton was a volunteer fire fighter, and a founding member of
Weccacoe Hose Company Number 2.
This volunteer Hose Company was
organized on March 15, 1858, by Allan Ward, Edward T. James, Edward J. Steer, John W.
wood, George W. Thomas, Simeon H. Pine,
Thomas C. Barrett, Thomas Ellis, John Thornton,
and the following officers were elected : Thomas
D. Laverty (president), Allan Ward (vice-presi
dent), Edward T. James (secretary) and E. J. Steer
(treasurer). The headquarters of the company
were with the Weccacoe Fire Company for nearly
two years, and they removed to a stable belonging
to Isaac Shreeve, near Hudson and Bridge Avenues, and later to Joseph Delacour's laboratory, on
Front, near Arch. In 1863 they bought ground on
Benson, above Fifth, at a cost of four hundred and
fifty dollars, and erected a two-story building of
brick, costing two thousand two hundred dollars.
On February 2, 1860, the company was incorporated.
In 1868 the company purchased a steam fire-engine
at a cost of five thousand eight hundred dollars,
which they expected to pay, by subscription, but
the agitation of the question of a paid department
prevented the collection of the money, and when
they went out of service, in 1869, they were five
thousand dollars in debt. Instead of disbanding,
they resolved to maintain the organization until
every obligation was liquidated and the honor of
the company sustained. To do this they utilized
their assets, met regularly and contributed as if in
active service, and after fourteen years of honest effort, September 8, 1883, they met, and after
ing the last claims against them, amounting to
the Civil War broke out in April of 1861, John Thornton enlisted
with many other Camden men in the Fourth Infantry Regiment. The
Fourth Infantry Regiment was organized for a three months term.
He re-enlisted in September of 1862 for a nine month term as
First Sergeant with Company D, 24th New Jersey Volunteers.
Thornton family was still in Camden's Middle Ward when the Census
was taken in 1870. He returned to his family in Camden. John
Thornton and his family were living at 665 South
3rd Street when the 1878-1879 Camden City Directory was
compiled. John Thornton moved his family to 225 Benson Street by
the middle of 1879. Sadly, he passed away prior to the enumeration
of the June 16, 1880 Census, and was buried in what today is
called Old Camden Cemetery.
Directories through 1883 show Charles Thornton living
at 225 Benson
Street. Charles Thornton worked as a roofer. When
the Census was taken in 1880 Charles Thornton was living with
his widowed mother and sisters Louise and Annie.
in the footsteps of his late father, in
the spring of 1884 Charles Thornton was appointed to the Camden Fire
Department, to serve as an extra man with the Hook & Ladder
Company, replacing Alfred
Ivins. He served until July 1, 1885 when the Fire Department
was reorganized and eighteen of the extra men were let go.
Charles Thornton was one of that number.
1887-1888 shows Charles Thornton, his mother Eveline and sister
Louise living at 608 South 4th Street.
Charles Thronton died of consumption on February 14, 1889,
according to the Camden Daily Courier. He was then residing on
Pine Street between Locust and South 3rd Street, according to the
The 1888-1889 Director
shows only his mother and sister at 608 South 4th Street. They
moved to 633 South 4th Street by 1890 and were still there as late
as 1900. The 1900 Census shows that of Eveline Thornton's four
children, only Louisa, who lived with her, was still alive.